Intuition is one of the subtler keys to effective leadership. But many people confuse intuition with instinct or their ability to read another person’s body language. But intuition is neither of these.
Instinct is something we share with animals. It doesn’t need learning, it’s a pre-programmed danger or survival reaction to outside stimuli telling us something is wrong – often through body sensations (as in “gut instinct”) that prompt us to act.
So it shares the suddenness of an intuitive thought, but it doesn’t have the creative, breakthrough or forward-looking quality of intuition.
Ability to Read Body language
Our ability to read the facial and body gestures of others and interpret their voice tones is neither instinct nor intuition; it is a social skill.
So what is intuition?
It’s the ability to connect to truth, grasp a new insight or envisage a new future without conscious step-by-step intellectual reasoning.
Putting it another way, it’s the capacity to see what was always possible, but hidden by old prejudices and fixed mindsets. It’s almost as if we mentally seize something whole that was always there, but just out of reach until the moment we engaged our intuition.
Take the example of Albert Einstein. He didn’t invent relativity, he discovered it. In other words, he tapped into a truth that was already there.
How did he do it? In the same way many scientists, visionaries and innovators do. He educated himself on what we already knew about the subject and concentrated – you could say meditated – on it repeatedly until an idea or solution emerged.
So intuition is a process where a person connects through steady attention to what we might call the invisible storehouse of abstract universal knowledge and creative potential, just as Einstein did when he worked on the theory of special relativity. And just as many visionaries and innovators have done before and since; like perhaps Tim Berners-Lee, who dreamt of a “universal, shared information space” and proposed the idea of the World Wide Web.
Intuition & Leadership
Thus, intuition is the source of creative insight, of the ability to tap into basic truths and cut through confusing problems to see the issues that matter and envisage a new way forward.
In leaders, it often expresses itself as foresight, vision and the ability to choose wisely between alternative directions. This is why it’s such a key to effective leadership.
Self-Esteem And Leadership